Introducing — #InTheI

My next book will be available this week! On Amazon and all other book-getting sites. And the audible book, narrated by yours truly will quickly follow. It’s being edited right now. I am soooooo excited, folks! Spread the word! The great reviews indicate people LOVE this book, its message, its uplifting inspiration and on-your-seat story.

Love and Light for ALL

spreading HOPE JOY LOVE is my mission as writer/artist!

One of my greatest passions in life is to share with others the tools that worked to change my career path from that of an soon-to-be middle-aged loser to a completely reformed, dedicated member of the mindfulness and positive-thought tribe.

The events related in In the ‘I’ occurred in a juvie lockup some years ago when I was the teacher, not the inmate. But I’d already spent time bucking my true calling, ending up in a prison of the worst sort. Not just the third-world one in which my body was finally incarcerated in, but within the locked-up thinking that my closed and negative mind-set had created for me, as well.

In the ‘I’ is about the class I offered girls in prison, as a volunteer. Called “Miss T’s yoga and meditation class” by the at-risk girls who attended each week, the book chronicles our discoveries coinciding a major hurricane’s eye traveling right toward the isolated facility in central Florida.

To the government offices that received our facility’s reports, asking for continued funding so this high security correctional facility could operate, and the academy could offer more than regular high-school classes and individual psychological counseling, in official papers our yoga-and-meditation class was euphemistically deemed as: “Empowerment Techniques.”

As Hurricane Charley was being tracked deep in the heart of Florida’s cattle and citrus country (having already rampaged through central Cuba the night before that August 13th back in 2004) I’d already been teaching Empowerment Classes for several years at the high-fenced, triple-locked prison for teenage girls. The Academy of Bowling Green (ABG) housed 52 girls who’d been adjudicated for repeat offenses, their anti-social behavior seen as both drug- and mental health-related. Other than being rounded up and housed together, in all other ways except ABG’s efforts, they’d been abandoned by a system that doesn’t help at-risk kids at all. After six months of going to ABG, I was rewarded with pay, unasked for but a welcomed addition to the budget of my family’s suburban home at the time, more than a hour’s drive away.

While Hurricane Charley gathered speed after leaving Cuba, Miss Ursula, the founder of this unique experimental facility, who also served as ABG’s Mental Health Director, started repeatedly calling Miss Estelle, the head of security. After the cyclone shifted course, hitting much further south than anticipated, Charley’s eye was reported to be “heading up the Peace River corridor”—straight for where the girls and their caregivers at ABG were huddling in fear, anticipating the worst.

That Friday the 13th, after trying to drive through the heavy storm conditions Ursula and her car filled with co-workers was forced to turn back to their St. Pete’s Beach homes, seventy miles distant from ABG.

As Charley gathered speed, I relate from my distant-in-another-direction home, how our Empowerment classes were regularly held. What we did in them. First we’d focused on our breath, settling into our deeper, inward selves, our inner ‘I’  as I refer to this peaceful inner state everyone has, if only a person wishes to know about it. I relate how our circle of 12-girls-and-I talk for a short while about yoga-related topics, such as “How to be more calm,” “How to feel untouched by outside stress,” “How to choose to be positive,” and other practical things. We then begin our hatha (physical) poses, some simple, some challenging. And we always end by resting on the floor (the girls’ favorite!) in a short meditation period.


resting in the calm of our inner ‘I’

At the back of the classroom sat black-and-white uniformed Mr. Lawrence, usually the assigned guard, who constantly listened to the chirps of his mandatory walkie-talkie that was on all of the many guards’ hips at this busy, hectic, noisy reform school for what society deemed “hardcore incorrigibles.” That’s the term the Girl Scout director called these girls who’d been forgotten by the rest of society, when I went to ask, and received, sponsorship from them to reach these so-called “bad” girls. I had sought out the “baddest” I could find, you see. Because I wanted to share with them what I had never gotten early in life, to tap who I really was. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I would meet the teacher that set me straight on the spiritual road to discovering my inner ‘I’.

The day before the storm, at our regularly scheduled Thursday class, I used the oncoming storm as a metaphor. The rushing-toward-us hurricane was an opportunity for a lesson about choosing to be calm in the face of the catastrophic event that, more than likely, would be roaring toward some place in Florida by dawn. Possibly, ours.

“Charley is like all of life’s many woes,” I told my yoga-girls that Thursday before the storm was due to hit. Then I proceeded to remind the girls, encourage them to “stay within your inner ‘I’ like we’ve practiced in each of our previous classes.

“I’m here to remind you, honestly, how all humans get to choose to be focused within, even in the midst of horrific outer-chaos, no matter what’s happening outside ourselves. These events, these Life-storms, are a constant. We get hit by storms of both natural causes or people-made all the time,” I spoke lightheartedly in our opening circle, not scaring them, but wanting the girls to be fully aware: They always have a choice.

there's always hope

there’s always hope

“Even if the eye comes here tomorrow, you’ll be absolutely safe inside these walls.” Miss Ursula assured them. She knew because she’d done extensive renovation work a couple years earlier. “When the storm hits, and it most likely will get pretty scary, girls, now you won’t be worried, knowing how safe this building is. If you remain calm, you’ll be given the chance to enjoy the power of Nature, coming so close to you, I’m sure. For most of you here today, you’ve never witnessed such a phenomenon.”

She looked around at her wards at the daily community meeting she was holding the day before the storm, before its devastating eye would be forecasted to directly hit their tiny speck on the map. Against all odds. The worse happening, to them!

“Knowing you’ll be safe frees up your mind. Now you have the choice to tune into something much greater than what might happen on the outside of us, when we’re hit by this humongous storm. Knowing you’re safe, frees you up to choose to not let your emotions carry you away, into the danger-zone of life’s outer, swirling chaos,” Ursula ended her preparatory talk that Thursday before Charley was due.

All the girls nodded their heads. They were happy to be reminded that they have this choice. To not be frozen in fear, or worry, or anxiety, or any other negative, heart-clamping feeling.

In class that Thursday before the hurricane, Katy, the star student of the yoga class who was also alpha-girl at ABG, shouted to the others, “Let’s not be stupid! Let’s do what Miss T says.” I smiled. All the girls respected Katy. She was the biggest, sturdiest, and oldest: the baddest of the bunch. Plus she was the only one who ever tried to run away from ABG, during an hard-earned home pass. Of course more time was added on to her sentence when she was caught and returned to lockup.

Alex nodded her head vigorously. She was to be released soon. She’s one who told me when she first came to class: “Doing yoga is the only thing that makes me happy. I used to be a cutter. Watching the blood ooze out where the razor cut me used to be the only way I could ever feel anything before. But now, I have yoga. I’m doing yoga for the rest of my life on the Outs.”

Also in class that day was the gang girl called Shay, whose real first name was the literary wondrous one of ShakespearesDelight. Hardcore Gangsta, her hood’s tats ran down those skinny, no-muscle arms of her looking more like a vertical brocade. Yet she was the most vocal in defying all other gang girls who “diss me for doing this wimpy ass yoga shit,” she’d report in our opening circle with a shrug and a rough laugh. At the back of the room Mr. Lawrence looked up at this use of foul language, and scowled, wondering, as he always did, if he should give Shay one of his usual “criticals,” a serious-offense recorded mark that particular grumpy guard was notorious for dishing out too easily.

Profanity was not allowed at ABG. Nor was physical contact. But in yoga class we did both: we talked down-n-dirty at our opening circle … before we got into our “yoga groove” and often, but only after getting a girl’s permission, I made adjustments to her pose.

There’s another reason why I chose to teach these particular girls. People often wonder why I was drawn to teaching girls in heavy-duty detention. I love and accept all young people who get in trouble, because that was me. I wished someone had guided me when I was going through my tough times, exactly like they were.

In class I revealed to each and every new girl—”I’m just like you guys. Yeah, I was a teenage alchie, then a druggie semi-criminal, too, before I decided to change. The only different between you and me, girls, is—I didn’t get caught nearly as young as you guys did. That’s why I chose ABG—to be with you, who most people have given up on—to share what I have to offer. Because finding out who I really was, learning to tap my inner power, after getting sober first!, is how I changed from my resentful, scared, former bad-girl ways—to who you see before you today.”

Eyes always popped open at these opening remarks of mine. I never elaborated even when pressed. I gave just enough away about my colorful past to entice, to create equality, to form bonds of solidarity, these caught, so-called bad-girls, and me—their former-wayward, now mostly-straight yoga teacher.


I’ll post a link if you want to purchase a copy for yourself, very soon! Check back, sign up for LordFlea posts here, or … go to my website and sign up for my info e-mails and book updates. Lots of exciting events coming up! Interviews, podcasts, giveaway contests! Sending LOVE to you! LordFlea aka teZa

PURPLY front cover in the I

Doing Time Doing Me, Myself, I

Hi Friend!

Well, we got hit by another hurricane, this time Irascible Irma. Many people from our little seaside town chose to evacuate, but many of us stayed. As it turned out, the storm, as cyclones tend to do, kept changing course. So instead of getting hit directly as the TV weather station maniacally predicted, my smartphone’s app (iHurricane) told me exactly where that bitch Irma was, at all times. And I knew how she’d changed her mind and was heading for … exactly where many people had originally evacuated for, the opposite side of our state.

My hurricane-smart consort Carter and I boarded up for Irma, as we got somewhere around 70 mph winds. We will keep our big glass window-doors boarded up till the end of this hurricane season, at the end of November. We know how it goes. Some years, global warming or not, are real bitches, when it comes to storms. This has been happening for as long as I’ve chosen to live in warmer areas. Back in the 70s when I lived in the Caribbean, it was the same story, back-to-back killer-hurricanes, that wiped out both islands I happened to be living on and working from, Dominica (which got wiped out this year as well, with Maria) and the Dominican Republic.

Which brings me to … the subject of my post today … staying calm in the worst situation imaginable, the subject of my literary nonfiction book … “in the I … easing through life-storms” … whose publication date is imminent!


My nonfiction book is soon available for the public! Stay tuned for more info. I’m looking for advanced readers (willing to post an Amazon review within a certain time period). If you’re a fan of LordFlea and would like to help spread the word of this GREAT READ, the true story of me teaching yoga and meditation to distressed juvies in lockup — please contact me. thanks.

Here’s a quickie peek at what my soon-published nonfiction narrative reads like. I’ll post more excerpts in the weeks to come. (I have plenty of other subjects to share about, but am busy with the pre-publication marketing, PR stuff, so I’ll keep my subject to this for now.

Spread the Word: LOVE

from my heart to yours … help spread the WORD!

The girls shuffle into the dimly lit classroom. Only those who’ve been here before have anticipation inscribed on their faces. The others wear downturned mouths, furrowed brows, fear-filled eyes. They push and shove each other like toddlers.

I am their volunteer yoga teacher, and they are teenage girls who’ve been sentenced to jail terms varying from nine to eighteen months, for crimes I never ask about. Sometimes they want to share about it in our opening circle.

“Here, we’re all equal,” I say and look around to the twelve who’d signed up for class that Thursday, the day I drive each week two hours back and forth from my central Florida home to their facility, deep in the heart of rolling green cattle country.

“You keep saying that, Miss, but I don’t believe you,” Alex says, her jet coal eyes sparkling with the same curiosity that keeps her coming back. Months earlier Alex shared that she used to be a cutter, as a lot of other girls are in state-run juvie detention. Alex is one of the regulars. I’m hopeful for her new life on the Outs, because she’s soon to be released.

“Believe it,” I say. “I used to be a bad-girl just like you guys. But then—I decided to change. I had to get sober first. That’s why I’m here today, to show you how I did it. Learning to still my monkey-mind, like doing a yoga pose teaches us, is the highest high I’ve ever known. I once wanted to die, like you all did, too. Why else did we do the stupid stuff we did?”

The rumbles around the circle tell me they get it. They know.

“That’s why I’m here. I come to show you how I’ve changed, so you can. Otherwise, you might keep doing the dumb things that got you here in the slammer.”

Heads nod all around me.


Each week I arrive at the triple-locked, high-security youth prison that houses fifty-two repeat offenders, adjudicated by the courts. Some have been my yoga-girls since they started serving their sentences. Whenever there’s a new girl, like Alice is today, I give the same spiel. The more seasoned yoga-girls never grow tired of hearing it.

“I’m just like you,” I say. “Only I didn’t get caught as young as you guys are. I was an addict and a criminal too. I spent time in prison, like you. Only mine was worse: it was a snake pit dungeon on a third world Caribbean island.”

I notice the girls sitting up straighter. Their cross-legged postures appear electrified after hearing that the regular-looking, middle-aged lady in front of them—a mother of two, a contributing member of society—admit to being … just like them.

“I was hell bent on dying, like you were. My family was troubled, like a lot of yours are.”

“My mom’s a pill head,” Lashonda sadly admits.

“My mom’s never home, and I never met my dad,” Beth murmurs.

“My dad’s serving time,” LouAnn says.

“I’m sorry, girls. We all get the hand we’re dealt for a reason. But trust me—just as lousy as you feel the hand you got is, if you want, just like that! (here I snap my fingers)—you can change it!”

Ursula, the director of the Academy of Bowling Green (ABG) greeted me the year before when I first arrived, with a big hug, saying, “I knew you’d come. I’ve prayed you up myself.”

I’d come to a point in my life where I felt compelled to call the Girl Scouts of America and tell them, “I want to help the baddest, the worse-off, most forgotten girls. The ones everybody else has given up on.” The Girl Scouts sponsored me and I chose ABG, where the most aggressive, heavily tattooed gang girls in the state were sent.

Ursula had told me, “We’ll call your yoga and meditation class, Self-Empowerment for state-funding purposes.”

As soon as the girls arrive who’d signed up that week for class, we start our deep breathing exercise, and instantaneously their inner-awfulness dissipates. Then, we briefly talk in a sharing circle about whatever bothers them. Only then we do the poses, some easy, some challenging. We always end with a guided meditation, the girls’ favorite. By now, the regular yoga-girls are practically teaching the class without my guidance.


Today’s class is different.

A major storm is on its way. The weather bureau says Hurricane Charlie will strike Cuba tonight, and hit the Gulf of Mexico coast early Friday morning. Everyone in the state is in high alert of what tomorrow might bring.

I ask the girls to listen carefully. “We’re expecting something that might terrify some of you. Going through a hurricane, especially if you happen to be close to its center, its eye, is like going through any other major challenge in real life. So tomorrow, instead of feeling scared, you can choose to do like we practice here—follow your breath and go inside your inner being, inside your true self. There, you’ll always feel safe.

“Just like we do in class, starting with our focused breathing. And how we concentrate our energies on maintaining a steady pose. And—your favorite—trusting that still place we go to, inside your own quieted-down mind.”

Shanda asked, “You mean going through the storm tomorrow will be like doing yoga, Miss?”

I nod my head. “There’s nothing to worry about, girls. Miss Ursula herself oversaw the work when this building was remodeled. She knows it’s as hurricane-proof as Fort Knox. Once you know your shelter is safe, all that’s necessary to go through a major storm, like tomorrow’s is shaping up to be—is to stay centered within yourself. Inside your calm, peaceful self. Like we practice in class.

“The power might go off. August in Florida is hot enough, so you guys might be really uncomfortable, I’m not going to lie. But being prepared—knowing what’s coming—is better than being surprised. The wind will howl like an army of witches outside. But if you’re prepared, you can easily accept anything that comes.”

For the rest of the class as we bend and twist, I keep reminding them:

“Think of your own body as if it were this brick and mortar facility you’re in. Your body is just like this trustworthy place. It’s a good place to feel safe inside of. Trust that you’re strong enough to take whatever comes, any day.”

As we do the poses, Alex is quiet, as usual. Her dark eyes follow me while I walk around the room, making adjustments. Later, when she’s in the exiting line with the rest of the girls, she hangs back a bit.

“Miss, I’m scared to go home. It’s just two weeks away. At home, my mom still uses, and my brothers beat on me. And sometimes they try other things. You know, bad things. I’m afraid to leave ABG. It’s been my home for so long. What should I do, Miss? I want to be free! Especially since I’ve got the high of meditation and yoga instead of drugs and bad choices to start my new life with. But what can I do to not be so afraid?”

I take a deep breath. “Alex, I know how you feel. I’ve been there myself. You’re lucky, because you’ve already got a lot of sobriety under your belt. You’ll go to lots of recovery meetings, won’t you?”

She nods her head adamantly.

“Let me talk to Miss Ursula. Maybe she knows of a halfway house you can live in, until you feel more capable. Would you like that?”

“Oh yes, Miss!” Alex’s eyes sparkle like black diamonds. “I wouldn’t be so worried then, about what might happen at home.”

The next day the monster storm crept closer to ABG. I could hardly believe what I saw, sitting with my family watching the TV screen, as Charlie’s deadly eye roared right toward the girls! I imagined them huddling all together in the safest area of their strong facility. The announcer said the hurricane’s very center would directly—and imminently!—hit ABG’s miniscule pinpoint of a one stoplight-town. The impossible … was happening! All I could do was send everyone at ABG my comforting thoughts, surround them with my love, for protection. Just like I did with the tall oaks that stood like twin sentries around my home.

Before every tropical storm, a frequent occurrence in this part of the country, I go outside to silently stand in front of my sturdy tall trees. I extend my arms and send energy to my arboreal friends, requesting they stay erect, supple, and not topple over in the crushing wind that soon will test their mettle.

That Friday, when Charlie’s eye tore its destructive path across the middle of Florida, I’d find out later, the girls at ABG did more than expected. They were cooperative, even-tempered, uncharacteristically accepting. Not a single girl went into hysterics. No one had to have a take-down, a many-person procedure used to calm a berserk individual in detention, before hysteria can spread.

I was happy to hear that my yoga-girls were among the most peaceful of ABG’s huddled bunch of inmates and guards. While marauding troops of wind-demons screeched outside, everyone clung to each other. Big trees crashed and roofs flew off all around them—but ABG remained untouched. Just as Miss Ursula said it would.

When I arrived the next Thursday, Alex greeted me with exciting news.

“Miss Ursula found a half-way house for me to stay in for as long as I need to, when I’m released next week, Miss!”

My chest pounded, for so many reasons.

Many had helped me find my way to an honest, fresh-start after I’d crashed and burned. Now it was my turn to help guide girls like Alex, to morph into being useful citizens. I looked into Alex’s midnight eyes. Helping at-risk youth like her made me feel a better person, helped me love myself a bit more, too. Sharing with such beautiful souls like she and Lakeesha, Katie, TraySea, Sha’Ron, Tiffany, Jessica—even the non yoga-girls too shy or close-minded to try a class—helped heal the bruise still aching inside me, from having done harm to myself so long before.

However a person learns to do it, being empowered helped the girls accept that the outer imprisonment of their circumstances can never stop them from feeling real peace, inside.